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June 18, 1999

When I was packing for departure, it began to rain. Though I wait for some time, it is getting harder. I had to gave up today's run at last. I unloaded and come into the room again. What should I do today? maybe we can't do anything in such a small town. O.K., I'll be relaxing today. I went to a used-book store near the rider's house and bought 5 books. I spent all day reading books. At night I cooked and eat dinner with another guest who is traveling around Hokkaido by bicycle.
One week has passed since I arrived in Hokkaido. I have seen the wonderful nature all over the island. But on the other hand it is true that the nature is disappearing rapidly these days by the development. I saw some sea shores and river banks strengthen by concrete with no sense. I think it's crime rather than insensitivity. I am sure some public construction is for making employment but it should be solved by another way. At the present, the most criminal act is to break the ecosystem. Only human can destroy the ecosystem. The nature don't worry but we ourself should be in trouble.

June 19, 1999

Leave Esashi in the early morning and try Northern Hokkaido Super Forest Road, which is about 35 km long. It is the first time for me to run such a long dirt road. Around the halfway, I found a trail on the right. It seems to reach the top of Mt. Hako-Dake. I took a right turn. The mountains top (1,129m) was cool and I took a rest for some time. After finishing Mt. Hako-Dake and Super Forest Road, go to Matsuyama Shitsugen (marsh). Walking up the mountain for 30 minutes, I reach the marsh. Oh, what a dreamy view! Just like I am standing in a monochrome ink painting. The combination of pine trees and thick fog is marvelous. I walked the promenade about one hour. When I walked down the mountain again, it was getting much colder. I headed for Gomi Hot Spring. Very warm and comfortable. Then head for Okoppe, today's sleeping place. I checked in a free accommodation. The room is an old carriage, which has been converted as an accommodation for riders. There are 2 riders besides me and we drink together. It is very cold day but we have to be patient. Good night.

June 20, 1999

Eating a ramen and rice for breakfast at a small restaurant, I head for Abashiri. On the way there, stop by Omusaro Wild Flower Park and Ruins. There used to be more than 30 houses in Jomon Period (ca.10,000BC-ca.300BC) there. Then go to Lake Saroma, which is the third largest lake in Japan. A long sand dune divided the lake from the sea but 70 years ago seawater flew into the lake over the dune. I tried tasting the water just between the sea and the lake. It was just the taste between fresh water and salt water! In Abashiri, I went to Northern Races Museum first. It was very interesting. I didn't know that Moyoro People, who came from Siberia to live in Hokkaido in the 5th to 10th century. After the museum I check in at Lamp Rider's House. It was surprising that I saw 2 riders with who I had stayed at the free accommodation in Okoppe together last night.
One of them told me that kind of things is common in hokkaido. Actually I saw them so many times since then on roads and at other accommodations..

Lake Saloma

June 21, 1999

Visit Old Abashiri Prison Museum and the present Abashiri Prison. In the museum the old prison is reproduced and the real buildings of those days are used in the whole museum. Some places such as the bath has full of reality with some mannequins. Then stop at Koshimizu Wild Flower Park, where we can see a beautiful view with a background of Shiretoko Mountains. Then go to Oshin-Koshin Water Falls. A very powerful and attractive one. And next go to Iwaobetsu Hot Spring, a free open-air bath in the woods. Very comfortable. One more hot spring. Go to Kamui-Wakka Water Falls and Hot Spring, which is 10km deeper from Iwaobetsu. This is a really strange place. Hot water flows down the river and there are some natural holes under the water falls. We can enjoy taking a open-air bath there. It is a wonder of nature! Since I come to eastern Hokkaido, I haven't run long distance because there are too many places and things to stop and see. Next I went to Shiretoko Five Lakes. 3 of them were not allowed to go because of appearance of bears. I enjoyed walking around other 3 lakes. It was past seven when I got to Kumano-Yu campsite in Rausu.

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